Having a complete set of dishes is a necessity in every household. So, whether you’re starting out on your own, moving in with a partner for the first time or are comfortably ensconced in your home with your large family, you need plates and bowls to put your food on for every meal.
That being said, choosing dinnerware you like that meets your needs is easier said than done. From the practical and functional to the design, décor and aesthetics of it all, there is just so much out there to choose from that making a decision can be more difficult than you think.
With so many factors to consider – bone China, stoneware, earthenware, ceramic, non-breakable glass, white, two-toned, multi-colored or patterned, round or square – the whole process just may feel a bit overwhelming.
To help you wade through it all, we narrow down four dinnerware sets you can buy online. Read on and find the right one that works best for you.
1) Top Pick Best Budget Value: AmazonBasics 18-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set
You’re moving out of your parents’ house into your own place, you need to equip your kitchen and you’re on a budget. In your mind you envision hosting lots of dinner parties for your friends, so ideally, you want more than just a couple of plates and bowls. If you’re looking for an affordable option that will give you a set of matching dishes so you can entertain a few people for dinner, then this is the set for you.
We recommend the AmazonBasics 18-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set. This set is perfect for anyone who needs to stock their kitchen cupboards with a service for six without breaking the bank. And at this price, if you need more, it’s a breeze to add another set to serve 12.
Made from AB-grade porcelain for everyday use, the set includes six of each: 10.5-inch dinner plate, 7.5-inch salad plate and 5.9-inch bowl. Your table will look great set with the proper dinnerware to serve everything from soup and salad to fish, chicken, beef and vegetables.
Lightweight and durable, these dishes have an elegant modern design that is easy to coordinate with your tableware and décor. Don’t fancy white? No worries. This dinnerware set is available in 16 other colors and patterns. How sweet is that?
When it comes to versatility, you’re going to love these features: These dishes can be safely used in the freezer and the microwave – although the plates will get hot in the microwave. You can even put them in the oven, as they can withstand a maximum temperature of 572 degrees F. What’s more, this set can go into the dishwasher for a quick clean up. Entertaining has never been easier – or more convenient.
- Lightweight and durable
- Available in many colors and patterns
- Comes with a one-year limited warranty
- Too casual for formal use
- Doesn’t include serving platters or other accessories
2) Top Pick Best Stoneware: Stone Lain Coupe Dinnerware Set Service For 8
You consider yourself to be right on trend when it comes to your home décor, and that includes your dishes. Solid-toned plates with a bit of texture and an earthy, organic feel is the kind of look that would make your meal presentation perfect. You’re not interested in white; you choose darker colors as accent pieces to add a pop of panache against the neutral palette of your home, right down to the color and feel of your dinnerware. If you are looking for sturdy, beautiful dishes to grace your table and complement your decor, then this is the set for you.
We recommend Stone Lain Coupe Dinnerware Set, Service for 8 to bring your meals – and home décor – to another level of pleasure. This 32-piece stoneware dinner set has what it takes to give your table a hip, cool and trendy look. These dishes make a statement, and so will you.
The service for eight includes 10.25-inch round dinner plates that have a unique lipped edge; eight 7.5-inch salad plates; eight 5.63-inch Asian-styled bowls; and eight mugs with handles. This dinnerware set comes in brown matte with a subtle, speckled design, and are also available in matte black and matte grey. Regardless the color, the stoneware brings a rustic elegance to any table, creating the perfect balance between trendy cool and modern classicism.
And to top it off, the durable stoneware is 100 percent dishwasher and microwave safe. So lay out your most stylish tablecloth, cutlery and stemware, and let the Stone Lain 32-piece stoneware set do the rest.
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Available in three matte colors
- Sturdy, rustic-looking stoneware
- Dishes are heavy
3) Top Pick Best Earthenware: American Atelier Sparta 50 Piece Round Dinnerware Set
You love the look of stoneware for your dishes, but find them a bit too heavy. Thick, high-quality dinnerware is on your shopping list as you search for the perfect set of dishes that you can use every day, and for special occasions and entertaining. If you are looking for an affordable alternative to stoneware without sacrificing the look and style, then this is the set for you.
We recommend American Atelier Sparta 50 Piece Round Dinnerware Set, 10.5×10.5 White for all of your dining needs. This elegant-looking 50-piece set includes a full service for eight including eight 10.5-inch dinner plates; eight 7.5-inch salad plates; eight large bowls; eight small bowls; eight 7.5-ounce cups; eight saucers, and a salt and pepper shaker.
Made of thick, high quality, lead-free porcelain that will withstand frequent daily use and last for years to come, these dishes are an easy way to add a unique and chic touch to your dining table. Earthenware dinnerware is a lighter weight choice than stoneware, but still exudes a sturdy, rustic, yet elegant look. Even though it is less heavy, it is still dishwasher and microwave safe.
Set your table with these classic earthenware plates and wow your family and friends every day of the week.
- Made from lead-free porcelain
- Lighter in weight than stoneware
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Dishes get hot in the microwave
4) Top Pick Best Bone China: Lorren Home Trends La Luna Bone China
You consider yourself to be a bit Martha Stewart-esque when it comes to planning dinner parties for your friends and family. For each event, you artfully attend to every detail of the event, right down to the color of the napkins, the tablecloth and the flower centerpiece. The thought of using your everyday dishes has crossed your mind, but you prefer to set a more formal table for your guests, with matching accessories like a teapot and serving platter. If you are looking for a luxurious, high quality dinnerware set that is as durable as it is beautiful, then we have the product for you.
We recommend the Lorren Home Trends La Luna Bone China for all your entertaining needs. The exquisite Rosalia pattern features a bold traditional and brilliant 24K gold floral embossed design on lightweight translucent bone China.
No need to think about buying companion or complementary pieces. This complete dinnerware set includes eight 10.5-inch dinner plates; eight 8.5-inch soup bowls; eight 7.5-inch salad/bread and butter dishes; eight 8-ounce cups; eight saucers; eight 5.5-inch fruit or dessert bowls; one 14-inch oval platter; one 9-inch serving bowl; one salt and pepper set; one teapot with lid; one creamer; and one sugar bowl with lid.
You literally don’t have to add one other thing to this luxurious set – except for the food. The 24K gold embossed border on these dishes presents an elegant and sophisticated table that will impress your guests and have them talking about your fabulous dinner parties for years to come.
Oh, and did we mention this dinnerware set is not just another pretty face? This set is dishwasher safe and oven safe to 350 degrees.
- Elegant bone China
- Dishwasher safe for easy clean up
- Set includes a six-piece place setting for eight people
- Serving bowls, platters, teapot, creamer, sugar, salt and pepper included
- Is on the expensive side
- Includes pieces not everyone will use
Things to look out for:
Consider these things when looking for a dinnerware set so you will choose one that best suit your needs:
You might love the look of those large dinner plates, but you won’t be happy if they don’t fit into your kitchen cupboard or cabinet. Before you choose a dinnerware set, consider your space and the size of the area where you will be storing them.
What they are made of
Long before you begin to think about colors or patterns, it’s important to understand the different materials dishes are made from, as this will affect the use and care of your dinnerware. Bone China, earthenware, porcelain, melamine and stoneware are the most common dinnerware materials.
Bone China: This material is a durable, lightweight and elegant alternative for both everyday and special occasion use. It is chip resistant and unlike fine China, it’s usually microwave and dishwasher-safe.
Earthenware: Earthenware is sturdy, has a casual appeal and gives dinnerware significant weight. To keep it looking its best, avoid unexpected temperature changes, such as from the oven or high settings on the microwave.
Porcelain: Porcelain is a versatile material that has a non-porous surface and incredible durability resulting from high firing temperatures. These dishes are usually dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe. If some porcelain dinnerware pieces have metallic accents, they would not be suitable for the microwave.
Melamine: These dishes are shatterproof as well as hard to break or chip and are perfect for outdoor use. Melamine is not suitable oven or microwave use, and is usually dishwasher-safe.
Stoneware: Stoneware dinnerware sets have a special finishing glaze that gives a smooth look to the material and an impermeable finish, making it ideal for everyday use and family-friendly. These sets are more durable than earthenware, but will still need to be maintained and kept at even temperatures.
Before you choose a dinnerware set, think about how they need to be cared for, and how much time and energy you have to do it. For example, dishwasher-safe, break-resistant dinnerware is great if you have children and don’t have a lot of time to fuss. Microwave-safe dinner plates make reheating leftovers easy. If you like to entertain outdoors, look for break-resistant plates. If you don’t like washing dishes by hand, before purchasing a set, be sure to check if it is dishwasher safe. Some higher quality bone China and hand-painted dinnerware may need to be carefully washed and kept out of the dishwasher to maintain its look.
When it comes to dinnerware, the sky is the limit when it comes to colors, patterns, shapes and textures. Many people prefer white dishes, as white never goes out of style. White also makes a great base around which you can add pops of accent color with your dessert bowls, mugs, tablecloth, napkins and flatware. However, if you are partial to a particular color, then go for it, taking into consideration that your taste may change over time. The most important thing when making this decision is that you end up loving your purchase, regardless of the color.
It’s always a good idea to purchase what you can afford. The beauty of dinnerware sets is that you can buy one set at a time and build on it as your needs – and budget – changes. If money is a concern, consider purchasing the same set for everyday use and for entertaining. If money is not an issue, then it pays to buy a very good set for entertaining that will last a lifetime, and another set for every day use so you won’t be upset if one breaks or chips.